DON’T be surprised if a 'Wanted' sign is posted on the Air21 locker room door in the few days as the Express try to address their pressing need for a playmaker and a shooting guard.
Admitting that his top backcourt stars Renren Ritualo and Wynne Arboleda are no longer spring chickens, Air21 coach Franz Pumaren said the Express are on the lookout for a pair of guards to complement his much-improved frontline in time for the PBA’s 38th season.
“Looking at other teams like Petron, Ginebra, B-Meg and even Global Port, they all have a solid guard lineups. Right now, our team needs a solid point guard and a scorer whom we can rely on come crunch time, in the mold of say Gary David (of Global Port),” Pumaren told Spin.ph.
Pumaren disclosed there are ongoing trade negotiations with other PBA teams, although he declined to divulge them at the moment.
A new backcourt pair could go well with Air21's much-improved frontline, which has been bolstered by the arrival of former top pick overall Noy Baclao and Rob Reyes from Petron, and slamdunk king KG Canaleta from Barangay Ginebra.
“We were able to solve our problem with the bigs. But now, we need guys who could complement them,” he added.
Air21 finished last on offense the past season with an 85.6 points per game average. It also ranked second-to-last in defense by allowing their opponents 96.8 points per game as it finished with a woeful 5-27 record.
Arboleda, a three-time PBA Defensive Player of the Year awardee, averaged just 5.5 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.3 assists for the Express during his brief six-game stint following his arrival from Barako Bull during the Governors Cup.
On the other hand, Ritualo, the former La Salle deadshot, normed 9.1 points, 1.4 rebounds and 1.3 assists last season when he was reunited with his college coach.